SIC Hosts Mine Rescue Competition

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By Brandon Merano

HARRISBURG -- Teams from four states came together Tuesday to compete in the third annual mine rescue and skills competition at Southeastern Illinois College.

"The difference between a mine rescue competition and a skills competition is that there is multiple events going on at the same time," explained Mike Thomas.
 
Organizer John Smith thinks this type of competition will take off among miners.

"It's a coming thing. You can see it's already out east working its way, and it's going to be the mining training event," Smith told News 3.

The competition features various stations like fire training, first aid and smoke and gas testing.

Mine rescue captain Dustin Patterson says a competition like this can be critical in the event of a real emergency.
 
"It will be all of the exact same teams, all of the same guys, so you are with each other, they turn a situation into a little competitive situation," said Patterson.
 
The main goal of the competition is to prevent accidents.
 
"Ninety-nine percent of it can be avoided, and that's what our whole goal is," commented Smith.
 
Patterson says luckily he's not been called out to a real emergency in nine years. 
 
"We do a real good job," Patterson said. 

After the first day of competition, Pattiki-White County Coal was in first place, followed by Mach M Class & Viking State in second and Gateway in third.

Seven more teams will compete Wednesday. The overall winner of both days will qualify for a national competition in October.

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